2006 Baseball News

NMJC Player Named Athlete of the Year

Brian Flores photoJuly 11 – Hobbs, NM. The following article was taken from the website of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) at www.njcaa.org. Brian Flores hails from Carlsbad, New Mexico.

New Mexico Junior College's Brian Flores Chosen as NJCAA David Rowlands Male Athlete-of-the-Year
by Wanda Bodey

The 2006 NJCAA David Rowlands Male Student Athlete-of-the-Year is sophomore baseball standout Brian Flores of New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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Three T-Birds Awarded All-American Honors

June 15 – Hobbs, NM. Brian Flores became a back-to-back All-American. Nick Sanders made the All-American list as a DH and Cavazos-Galvez made the list as an outfielder on the 2006 NJCAA All-American list released June 10th by the national office. Flores, Sanders and Cavazos-Galvez brought NMJC’s All-American baseball list to 28 in the 16 years of the program. Flores went 12-1 with a 2.00 ERA, Sanders hit .477 with 7 homers, and Cavazos-Galvez hit .517 with 9 homers to make the list. Flores will move on to Arizona State, while Sanders and Cavazos-Galvez return for their second year.

Thunderbird Baseball Players Win Conference and Regional Awards

May 17 – Hobbs, NM. The 2006 Western Junior College Athletic Conference has announced its all conference team for 2006 and seven Thunderbirds made the list including Conference MVP Brian Flores. Flores was the unanimous selection for the MVP award after going two years without a loss in conference. Flores was a perfect 18-0 in two years of WJCAC pitching. The Carlsbad native, a 2005 All-American, finished two years in the WJCAC with an ERA under 2.00 which included a perfect game against Frank Phillips College. Also on the list were Matt Speake, RHP; Mike Gosse, 3B; Isaac Rincon, SS; Brain Cavazos-Galvez, OF; Pedro Gomez, OF; and Nick Sanders, DH.

Coach Ray Birmingham was named Coach of the Year in the conference for the second straight year and the eighth time in 16 years in the conference.

The all-Region V team was also selected this weekend with Flores once again being selected MVP of the Region. Four Thunderbirds made the all-region team including Gosse, Sanders, and Cavazos-Galvez .

Honorable Mention all-WJCAC were Luis Cruz, Elias Otero, Chris French. Members of the all-Region team are in the running for all-American. Flores and Cavazos were ranked one and two in region voting.

NJCAA Region V Tournament Bracket and Scores

Right-click anywhere on bracket and select "Print" to print bracket. Right-click and select "Zoom In" to zoom in.

Coach Birmingham Leads T-Bird Baseball to Region 5 Playoffs

Thunderbirds Face Grayson CC at 8:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, May 13 in Abilene, TX.

May 10 – Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College Head Coach Ray Birmingham heads into the Region 5 NJCAA playoffs for the 11th time in 16 years. The T-Birds are ranked number one nationally and Birmingham is nearing his 1,000th victory. Birmingham has won 977 games during his 27-year coaching career and will need next year to reach 1,000. Birmingham's wins come during coaching stints in high school, American legion, Connie Mack, NAIA and NJCAA baseball. Birmingham has won 763 games in college.

He ranks as one of the winningest active coaches in college baseball and the winningest college coach in New Mexico in the last 15 years.

Thunderbird Baseball Wins WJCAC Title

May 8 – Hobbs, NM. The New Mexico JC Baseball team won its second consecutive Western Junior College Athletic Conference Championship with a four-game sweep of El Paso Community College April 28 and 29th. The T-Birds dropped El Paso 14-8, 12-2, 7-6, and 14-6. The back-to-back titles for NMJC brought their conference championship total to five since the school’s baseball team began in 1990.

The Thunderbirds also finished the regular season 49-6-1 and remained #1 in the country the entire year. The T-Birds held the #1 ranking from June 5th 2005 through May 13 of 2006. They now advance to the Regional tournament in Abilene, TX, to be held at Driggers Field starting May 13 where they open with Grayson.

The T-Birds opened the year with 19 consecutive victories, making a 29 game winning streak that dated back to a 22-5 victory over El Paso at the end of regular season in 2005. The T-Birds finished 23-5 in conference.

Brian Flores Pitches Perfect Game

April 14 – Borger, TX. Brian Flores added another chapter to his sparkling career at New Mexico JC with a five-inning 48-pitch perfect game against conference foe Frank Phillips College. It was the second perfect game in NMJC history. The other perfect game came last year from Eli Elicerio against Lubbock Christian. The 11-0 shutout also gave Flores six shutouts on the season, another school record, and nine for his career. Flores is now 25-2 on his career at NMJC. The #1 ranked in the nation Thunderbirds are 39-6-1 on the season.

Brian Flores Records Fifth Shutout of the Season

April 10, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. Brian Flores, second team All-American in 2005 and top pitcher in last year’s JUCO World Series, recorded his fifth shutout of the season Friday with a 6-0 shutout of Odessa College. Flores, who was 15-1 last year with 147 strikeouts, is now 9-1 on the season with a 1.27 ERA. An early signee with Arizona State, Flores led New Mexico Junior College to the national title last year and has the Thunderbirds ranked #1 in NJCAA Division I. NMJC is 36-5 on the season. Flores presently has 93 strikeouts in 63 innings and is averaging 12 strikeouts a game.

Flores has become the all time wins leader in NMJC history and has recorded nine shutouts and two no-hitters in his career at NMJC.

NMJC Baseball No. 1 in the Nation

March 29, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. Being on top is not necessarily a new concept for the New Mexico Junior College baseball team.

But considering the 2005 national champions lost all but four players to graduation, coming out 28-3 and sitting at the pinnacle of the National Junior College Athletic Association poll is more like a validation of the program.

NMJC received nine first-place votes in the season’s first NJCAA rankings released Wednesday. The only other No. 1 ballot not cast for the Thunderbirds went to Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa (14-1), which is listed at No. 5. In the second slot is Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla. (27-4), while No. 3 is Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. (25-7), and at fourth is Spartanburg Methodist College in Spartanburg, S.C. (25-5).

Returning All-Americans Brian Flores and Mike Gosse are providing quite a spark in the quest for another national title. Flores is on fire, leading all pitchers with 66 strikeouts and a 2.104 ERA in 51.1 innings pitched. The left-hander recently broke NMJC’s all-time wins record, cranking out 22 and counting in his two-year career.

Gosse is the power at the plate. He is hitting .460 and leads the team in runs scored (32), hits (52), doubles (13) and runs batted in (38). Sophomore Chris French carries a big stick for the T-Birds, also scoring 32 times while hitting .404. He leads the team in stolen bases (19). Brian Cavazos-Galvez, a freshman from Albuquerque, boasts NMJC’s best batting average at .508.

Delivering depth on the mound are freshmen right-handers Matt Speake of Tyler, Texas (47.0 IP, 52 SO, 1.532 ERA) and Adam Kramer of Albuquerque (43.1 IP, 32 SO, 1.869 ERA), and freshman lefty Chris Lemay from Winnepeg, Canada (34.0 IP, 45, 1.853 ERA).

Continuing Western Junior College Athletic Conference play, NMJC (6-2 in WJCAC) has a pair of double-headers scheduled against Western Texas College. The teams will share venues, with the T-Birds traveling Friday to Snyder, Texas, and hosting Western Texas Saturday. Start time both days is noon.

Flores Breaks NMJC Win Record

Sophomore Mounts 22 Career Victories on the Mound

March 27, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. Brian Flores has further scribed his name in the record books at New Mexico Junior College.

The sophomore left-hander from Carlsbad has pitched his way to 22 victories thus far in his two-year career with the Thunderbirds, making him NMJC’s all-time wins record holder.

On the heels of an All-American 15-1 season in which he helped the T-Birds claim the 2005 national championship, Flores is 7-1 for ’06. Flores picked up victory No. 6 on the year with a seven-inning win over conference opponent Howard College Friday in Big Spring, Texas. Then, as closer, he pulled out a 12-11 win over Howard College Saturday at home.

Mitch Goins, who went on to sign with the Kansas City Royals, had set the previous NMJC all-time wins record at 20 in 2003 and 2004.

Flores’ stamp on NMJC baseball also includes his 147 strikeouts and 15 wins in 16 starts in 2005 – both single-season records. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and has signed early with Arizona State University.

T-Bird Baseball Sets New Win Streak

NMJC Hits Skid at 29 in a Row

March 27, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. The 2006 New Mexico Junior College baseball squad has built on what 2005’s national championship team started: They have strung together the program’s longest winning streak.

The Thunderbird two teams tallied 29 victories before Western Junior College Athletic Conference foe Midland College interrupted the stretch March 11 on their turf during the second game of a four-game series with the Chaparrals. At the time, NMJC led the WJCAC in consecutive victories for 2006.

What previously stood as T-Bird baseball’s longest win streak was 20, compiled by the 2003 and ’04 teams.

National Champs Handed First Loss of 2006

But T-Birds Bounce Back at Home

March 14, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. The New Mexico Junior College Thunderbird baseball team traveled to Midland Saturday for its first conference matchup of the year.

The defending national champions squeaked by host Midland College, 2-1, in the seven-inning opener but dropped an 11-10 decision in nine innings to end the day.

Midland College came to Hobbs Sunday and saw no mercy. NMJC ran over the Chaps, 15-7, to start the day, then claimed the nightcap, 12-2.

NMJC is slated for six games this week at Pima-Tucson, Ariz., at the Wooden Bat Tournament. The T-Birds will meet another conference foe, Howard College, March 24-25.

Games vs. Weatherford College Cancelled

February 17, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. The weekend baseball series vs. Weatherford College has been cancelled because of present/pending weather conditions in S.E. New Mexico and West Texas.

Thunderbirds Sweep Luna Community College

February 13, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College swept Luna Community College Feb. 10 and 11th at Thunderbird Field. The Thunderbirds beat Luna 3-0, 14-1, 12-4, 15-2 as the T-Birds moved to 8-0 on the season.

In Game One, the pitching of All-American Brian Flores made the difference as he struck out 16 and picked off three at first base to leave the rest of the defense to record only two outs in a seven-inning game. Flores was remarkable as he marches toward breaking every pitching record in NMJC’s 16-year history. Another one-hit shutout, Flores only walked one and picked up his 17th win after going 15-1 last year. His era of 0.00 in 14 innings shows that the ASU signee is getting better with every ball game. Chris French stole home in the first inning of Game One to give Flores all he needed and Kevin Atkinson’s 2 RBI double in the sixth gave the Thunderbirds the win.

In Game Two, Adam Kramer continued to be sparkling, striking out 10 and giving up an eighth inning run in a 14-1 victory. Kevin Atkinson was three-for-five with four runs scored. Mike Gosse, Coty Wilson, and Isaac Rincon had two hits apiece.

In Game Three, Matt Speake went six innings and KO-ed 9 in picking up the win. The T-Birds banged out 19 hits led by Cole Standrige’s three-for-three performance and Nick Sanders’ four-for-four performance including a double.

In Game Four, left-hander Chris Lemay was shining early, with one hit and seven strikeouts in four innings work. Luis Cruz, a catcher from Puerto Rico, came out of a slump with a three-for-three day, including a homerun and two doubles. Right fielder Pedro Gomez also did well with three hits in four at-bats including two triples.

Thunderbirds Start Season with a Sweep over McMurry JV

February 6, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College defeated McMurry University Saturday and Sunday, 3-0, 16-8, 26-1, and 6-3 to open the season. The highlight was All-American Brian Flores’ one-hit shutout in Game One. It brought Flores’ career record at NMJC to 16-1. Mitch Goins (2003-2004) won 20 games in his career for the NMJC record. Goins signed with Kansas City Royals.

In Game Two, freshman outfielder Jereme Johnson became the first Thunderbird to open his career with a five-hit day. He went five- for-five at the plate with five singles.

In Game Three, freshman first baseman Kevin Atkinson hat two homers, including a 420-foot shot, a triple and a single. Atkinson’s attempt to hit for the cycle fell short when his last at-bat saw his soft-line drive in the left centerfield gap caught by a sprinting Indians outfielder.

In Game Four, strong pitching by Chris Lemay and closer Joey Evans kept the Thunderbirds in the game until Nick Sanders slapped a double in the opposite field gap to break open a close game in the eighth inning. All-American Mike Gosse’s two-out two-run single capped the scoring.

NMJC meets Luna Community College at home Friday and Saturday in noon double-headers.

Cory Hall Appointed Assistant Baseball Coach

February 3, 2006 — Hobbs, NM. Cory Hall has become the new assistant coach at New Mexico Junior College. Hall, a former head coach and assistant at Clarendon College and Northwestern Unviversity, accepted the job Feb. 2, and hit the ground running.

“It is a pleasure and a honor to have Cory on our staff,” said Birmingham. “He replaces an outstanding coach in Jimmy Durham and before that another outstanding guy in Kevin Lallmann. Fortunately for me, I have the greatest pitching coach in the country, Jason Matthews, still by my side.”

Hall comes to NMJC after posting regional playoff berths at Clarendon College in every year there. He was an assistant from 2002-2003 and head coach in 2004 and 2005. Clarendon was nationally ranked in 2004 and 2005 and become one of the better teams in the regional play both years. Before going to Clarendon, Hall helped make Northwestern University in Oklahoma one of the top NAIA teams in the country.

“Cory is a winner. He works hard. Gets every bit out of his players and is a tireless recruiter. I am proud to call him a member of our coaching staff. I feel very fortunate to have him,” Coach Birmingham said.

Hall will coordinate recruiting and coach defense for the Thunderbirds during the 2006 season.

Coach Birmingham Speaks at Colorado High School Coaches Convention

January 21, 2006 — Denver, CO. Ray Birmingham, Head baseball coach at New Mexico Junior College and leader of the 2005 NJCAA Div. I champions, spoke at the Colorado High School Coaches Convention Saturday. Birmingham spoke on developing an offensive plan. Immediately after the offense session, Birmingham spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of JUCO baseball.

Coach Birmingham Speaks at Texas High School Coaches Convention

January 13, 2006 — Waco, TX. NJCAA Championship Coach Ray Birmingham spoke to several thousand Texas high school and college coaches on Friday at the Texas High School Coaches Convention. Birmingham spoke on teaching the mechanics of a linear swing and the offense that has made his JUCO program one of the top offensive clubs in the last 15 years in JUCO baseball.

Coach Birmingham Named National Coach of the Year

January 5, 2006 — Chicago, IL. New Mexico Junior College head baseball coach Ray Birmingham was named National Coach of the Year for NJCAA Div. I baseball at the American Baseball Coaches Association banquet. Birmingham, who has a 928-356 coaching record over 26 years of coaching, accepted his award at the banquet along with similar honors going to University of Texas Head Coach Augie Gorido and Hall of Fame honors going to Lewis and Clark’s legendary Ed Cheff.

Former Thundebirds Appear in Baseball America

November 21, 2005 — Hobbs, NM. Former Thunderbirds Jon Wilson (RHP) and Infielder Rene Osuna were mentioned in the Texas Rangers section of the October edition of Baseball America. See Page 38 of that worldwide publication.

Upcoming Thunderbird Hitting Camps

November 21, 2005 — Hobbs, NM. Attend the Thunderbird Hitting Camp December 26-28, 2005 or December 29-31, 2005. Learn hitting from the best hitting instructor in college baseball, Coach Ray Birmingham. Birmingham's hitting camp is endorsed by Major College and Professional baseball coaches from across the country. Learn how to hit the right way and watch your baseball career skyrocket. For a brochure or for a reservation, contact Sylvia Alves in the Continuing Education Department at NMJC at 575.392.4510.

Six Thunderbirds Drafted in 2005

October 8, 2005 — Hobbs, NM. Six Thunderbird baseball players were drafted in 2005:

  • Brian Flores - Chicago White Sox
  • Cody Harkcom - Kansas City Royals
  • Josh Giles - Texas Rangers
  • Nolan Whisenhunt - Washington Nationals
  • Matt Averitt - Washington Nationals
  • Rene Osuna - Texas Rangers

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